the gut brain connection: photo of a woman with bare abdomen

The gut-brain connection: can your gut affect your mental health?

The gut-brain connection is well known nowadays. Very often it is associated with mood swings and fatigue. But did you know that an unhealthy gut can lead to depression or/and anxiety?

The bacteria in our gut are very important and often responsible for many of our modern illnesses. If we don’t have enough of the good bacteria we can become more prone to catching the flu, having low energy levels or increased levels of anxiety and panic which can lead to depression.

A study conducted by George Porter Phillis in London’s Bethlem Royal Hospital showed that patients with depression had mild to severe constipation, brittle nails, bad skin and a pale demeanour. All signs of an unhealthy gut.

Dr. Philis wondered if these patients’ gut was the main contributing factor to their depression. As a result, he put them on a diet of vegetables and no meat (except fish). In addition to the diet, the doctor prescribed ‘kefir’ which is condensed milk that has gut-friendly bacteria called ‘lactobacillus’.

After a few weeks of eating gut-friendly meals, 11 out of 18 patients reported low levels of depression and an improved mood.

The gut-brain connection here proves to be true. The foods that we eat have a strong connection to the microbes in our gut that dictate how we feel.

Thus, next time you feel like you can’t get out of bed, check your food pantry. Is it stocked with chips and caramel cookies or nuts, seeds and vegetables?

Note: Please don’t ignore your mental health problems no matter how uncomfortable they are. If your diet is healthy and you still suffer from depression and anxiety, consult a mental health specialist. They’ll know how to help you.

Author’s bio

Marlena Bontas is a freelance writer with a passion for writing, technology and alternative health. She has an MA in Psychology from the University of Helsinki and is currently living in Ireland.

Write her at @MarlenaEeva on Twitter.

3 thoughts on “The gut-brain connection: can your gut affect your mental health?

    1. Thanks for your comment. I suffer from anxiety and each time I go on a clean diet (no gluten, no meat, only gut-friendly foods) I feel 100% better. The foods we eat have so much impact on our mental health.

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